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France win inaugural "World 9s" in Catalonia

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France, Catalonia, Spain, Argentina, Senegal and Andorra met in the Catalan city of Valls last week to compete for the inaugural "9-a-side World Cup". France and Catalonia went through the pool stages undefeated, had big wins in their semi-finals, then finished with a tight contest in the final, with the French ultimately succeeding 9.6 (60) to 6.4 (40).

Catalonia kicked off the tournament last Thursday with a narrow victory over Senegal, trailing for most of the game only to pull ahead in the last few minutes to win 9.8 (62) to 9.6 (60). This was followed up by defeating the Argentines 11.9 (75) to 10.10 (70), seeing the Catalans finish head of their pool.

In the other pool, France backed up for two games on Saturday September 13, defeating the Spain Bulls 9.9 (65) to 4.4 (28) and Andorra 9.7 (63) to 3.6 (24). In a game which would decide who would be relegated to 3rd place in the pool and therefore miss the finals, Andorra defeated Spain 5.8 (38) to 4.4 (28).

In the semis held on Sunday, Catalonia demolished Andorra 15.4 (94) to 2.5 (17) to set up a clash in the final against France, who defeated Argentina in similar fashion in their semi-final 11.12 (78) to 1.2 (8).

The final saw the French too strong, with rover Fabien Mailehako kicking 4 goals, helped by further goals to Joevin L’Hotelier, Nicolas Colomb, Alexis Schimpf and Ludovic Galiana, eventually running out 9.6 (60) to 6.4 (40) winners. Top goalscorer for the event was Mickey Rodriguez from Catalonia with 19 majors for the tournament.

The event will likely next be held in 2010, with Catalan footy pioneer Pere Moliner naming Senegal in West Africa as a possible host. The Senegalese and Argentine teams were drawn from nationals of those countries resident in Catalonia and playing in the LFAC, with this link seen as a way to bring the game to a new part of the African continent. Andorra and France are also slated as possible candidates.

France, Spain and Catalonia will shortly be backing up for an appearance at the EU Cup in Prague, with the Catalans to play at least one further friendly against Senegal in the lead-up.

A TV news report on the final (in Catalan) is available here.

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France win inaugural "World 9s" in Catalonia | 8 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
France win inaugural "World 9s" in Catalonia
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, September 19 2008 @ 10:38 AM ACST

Just curious, where were the French players drawn from? There's quite a few new French clubs trying to get started, as well as the more established Paris and Strasbourg teams. Was France drawn from across some of those sides?

It would be quite a coup if they could stage any kind of footy event in Senegal.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

France win inaugural "World 9s" in Catalonia
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Friday, September 19 2008 @ 11:38 AM ACST

Most of the French players were from Bordeaux and Montpellier, plus I think two
or three from Strasbourg. Didn't see any Paris players on the list.

France win inaugural "World 9s" in Catalonia
Authored by: Peter Parry on Sunday, September 21 2008 @ 09:57 AM ACST

I think this tournament will be looked back on as big news. The teams come from countries far behind on the footy development ladder and they played it almost is parallel to the IC. There's a lot of organisation if the Sth Americans did indeed come all the way from Sth America and weren't just Sth American expats in europe.

The big thing is they chose 9-a-side. With rising airline fuel costs and the more easy availability of soccer and rugby grounds - 9's is a much easier way to get teams together from distant places.

West Africa must be the champion athlete breeding ground for the world, is dirt poor and millions of kids looking for games to play. If they do play in Senegal and its driven by French speaking footy pioneers - another Sth Africa like boom could be repeated, with Usain Bolt like athletes to the AFL down the track.

France win inaugural "World 9s" in Catalonia
Authored by: Brett Northey on Sunday, September 21 2008 @ 01:37 PM ACST

I would be happy to hear otherwise, but I don't think there would have been anyone flying in from Africa or South America - I think it was an expat based tournament (not expat Aussie though). So good for Catalan and French footy, but whether it becomes a significant international tournament is one for the future.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

France win inaugural "World 9s" in Catalonia
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Sunday, September 21 2008 @ 03:37 PM ACST

None made the trip from Africa or South America - all players in those teams are
people who live and play in Spain.

Apparently there has been some contact between the guys actually in Argentina
(ie Ricardo Acuna and his crew) and the guys from this tournament, but no
players.

France win inaugural "World 9s" in Catalonia
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, September 22 2008 @ 12:10 PM ACST

The other day I suggested elsewhere - - that 9 aside footy could yet become an Olympic sport (within 50-100 years). (in half seriousness).

One thing I ponder is that in Australia we are steadfastly locked into full 18 a side footy. Why? After all, the old VFA was 16 aside. We'd often play lightning premiership comps with shortened quarters. The format IS negotiable, is it not?

Why is there no Aussie9s tournament let alone regular competitions? Many country towns that can't sustain full teams or even reserves teams could perhaps still engage the game via a 9's format. [I'd rathter that than a 11 a side 'soccer-football' team simply by virtue of lack of numbers for 18 aside footy]. And in for example, the VAFA - a little '9s' season could help sides with surplus players make sure they get a run where they don't have enough for a full ClubXVIII side. You could run little round robin comps over 6-8 weeks.

And so, back to the Olympics - - a 9's format overseas may yet out grow it's 'links' to Australia.

btw - I'd love to play for Australia even in 9's vs Senegal in Spain..........even if mainly in the rain (or especially!).

France win inaugural "World 9s" in Catalonia
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 12:30 PM ACST

Some leagues do play (or at least have played) 9s in Australia - the Sapphire Coast AFL around Merimbula and Eden used to play 9-a-side in reserves (if I remember correctly). A mate of mine played ressies there sometimes, he said they played on a full-size ground and it tended to turn into corridor footy.

The Omeo DFL in Gippsland also plays 16-a-side (or possibly 14-a-side, not sure), plus they don't have reserve grade. For this reason, struggling clubs from other nearby leagues sometimes move to the Omeo league, even if it means driving a few hours for a game on occasions.

France win inaugural "World 9s" in Catalonia
Authored by: Graeme Carey on Monday, September 22 2008 @ 05:48 PM ACST

I too am a great believer in 9s footy. The bali9s and Bali 9s Masters (a great concept for the older folks) are excellent tournaments. The beauty is you dont need many players and you can play on a soccer field.
The lightning type format is ideal for the tropics (where I live) and makes for good, intense contests.
Ideal for schoolkids and juniors as well.